Security Council Press Statement on the Security Council’s visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar

Security Council Press Statement on the Security Council’s visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar

 From 28 April to 1 May, members of the Security Council visited Bangladesh and Myanmar as part of its efforts to address the crisis since 25 August 2017 and urge implementation of its Presidential Statement of 6 November 2017.  The Security Council is grateful to the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar, as well as the United Nations, for facilitating the visit.

Members of the Security Council were struck by the scale of the humanitarian crisis and remain gravely concerned by the current situation.

In Bangladesh, the members of the Security Council visited the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, where they met Rohingya refugees.  The members of the Security Council also met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Minister of State Mohammed Shahriar Alam, acting Foreign Secretary M. Khurshed Alam, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mohammed Abul Kalam, other senior government officials, and representatives of the UN Country Team in Bangladesh.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deep appreciation to the government of Bangladesh for its efforts to provide refugees protection and assistance and expressed their determination to continue supporting Bangladesh, and Bangladeshi host communities, especially in preparing for the upcoming monsoon season and in providing refugees with sustainable support. The members of the Security Council reiterated their support to the work being undertaken by the UN Country Team in support of Bangladesh.

In Myanmar, the members of the Security Council met State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Union Minister for the State Counsellor’s Office U Kyaw Tint Swe, Union Minister for Office of the Union Government and National Security Adviser U Thaung Tun, Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Win Myat Aye, and other senior government officials, representatives of the UN Country Team in Myanmar, and members of civil society.  They also visited northern Rakhine State and observed the situation in northern Rakhine State, including widespread destruction of villages as well as reception centres and transit camps under preparation by the government of Myanmar.

The members of the Security Council noted the efforts taken by the government of Myanmar to prepare for the repatriation of refugees.  The members of the Security Council urged the government of Myanmar to step up its efforts to create conditions conducive to the safe, voluntary, and dignified return of Rohingya refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes in Rakhine State and to address the root causes of the crisis through implementation of the Rakhine Advisory Commission recommendations, including those related to human rights,citizenship, poverty alleviation and development. The members of the Security Council welcomed Myanmar’s commitment to work with the United Nations in the press release by the Ministry of the State Counsellor of Myanmar on 1st May 2018 after State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi met with members of the Security Council.

The members of the Security Council encourage states able to do so to continue and increase support to the government of Bangladesh, and Bangladeshi host communities, in hosting the Rohingya refugee community, especially regarding emergency preparedness measures to be taken ahead of the monsoon and cyclone seasons.

The members of the Security Council welcome the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and the Arrangement on the Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State between the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh and urge the government of Myanmar to work with the government of Bangladesh and the United Nations to allow the voluntary return of all refuges in conditions of safety and dignity to their homes in Myanmar, including through intensified bilateral consultations and implementation of the MoU and the Arrangement.

The members of the Security Council urge the government of Myanmar to grant the United Nations agencies and their partners immediate, safe, and unhindered access to Rakhine State, as well as to other domestic and international non-governmental organisations providing humanitarian assistance, and, as an initial confidence-building measure, to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding with UNHCR and UNDP in the coming days.

The members of the Security Council in light of the importance of undertaking transparent investigations into allegations of human rights abuses and violations, urge the government of Myanmar to fulfil, based on respect for the rule of law, its stated commitment to holding accountable perpetrators of violence, including sexual violence and abuse and violence against children.

The members of the Security Council reaffirm the Security Council’s Presidential Statement of 6 November 2017 in full, including its strong commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity, and unity of Myanmar.

The members of the Security Council intend to discuss in the coming days how the Security Council can work with the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar, as well as the UN, including the Secretary-General’s newly appointed Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener, to resolve the crisis and create the conditions allowing the safe, voluntary, and dignified repatriation of refugees to their homes in Rakhine State.

9 May 2018